Arnolds Park thrives on revenue increase

Posted Thursday, June 21, 2007 9:29 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Citing ideal weather, new attractions and a marketing campaign emphasizing a legendary past, the board of directors of Historic Arnolds Park, Inc. (HAPI) on Wednesday announced a bright beginning to the 2007 season at the century-old amusement park complex. HAPI finance manager Lisa Cihlar said as of the end of May attendance at both the park and the Queen II excursion boat was up substantially over last year. Cihlar said gross revenues to date were up 5 to 8 percent, or $15,000, over a year ago.

Read more from The Sioux City Journal.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007 9:52 AM
"a marketing campaign emphasizing a legendary past"

I thought nostalgia wasn't a business plan? ;)

Anyway, this is great to hear. This park had several near death experiences but it seems they have managed to turn the corner. Some of these people need to give Conneaut a good swift kick since they seem to know what they're doing!

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Thursday, June 21, 2007 11:12 AM
Can we get these guys to manage Conneaut?
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Thursday, June 21, 2007 11:35 AM
Unless you're going to move Conneaut, it won't matter.
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Thursday, June 21, 2007 2:32 PM
If I want to visit Conneaut and people like that will ensure that it's around for me to do so, then it will matter.
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Thursday, June 21, 2007 3:50 PM
Why do I feel like a broken record. Where are the people going to come from, Rob? Conneaut's problem is well beyond a management issue. There are many, many better choices around Conneaut. Iowa only has two choices total, and doesn't have a Kennywood, Martin's, Darien Lake or Waldameer relatively close by.
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Thursday, June 21, 2007 4:10 PM
Iowa technically has Valleyfair and Worlds of Fun to choose from also other then Arnold's Park and Adventureland. They aren't in Iowa but depending which part of Iowa you are from they are still rather close.
*** This post was edited by TonyBlackjack 6/21/2007 4:10:57 PM ***
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Thursday, June 21, 2007 8:21 PM
Jeff Said, "Unless you're going to move Conneaut, it won't matter."

I thought Arnolds was in the middle of nowhere too. The closest major city is Souix Falls, Sout Dakota. They are definatly closer to a main freeway though.

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Friday, June 22, 2007 9:33 AM
^^^ What do you mean? The people are going to come from the same places that Kennywood, Idlewild and Waldameer people come from. I realize that the Conneaut/Meadville area isn't densely populated, but people do travel more than 10 miles to get to an amusement park. Plenty of amusement parks survive in small towns were the population isn't tremendously wealthy, so I don't think the population has much to do with the problem. The park has been mismanaged for decades and it's all catching up. We're saying that if people like the ones running Arnold's Park were involved with Conneaut all this time, things could be vastly different.
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Friday, June 22, 2007 11:46 AM
But they don't go to visit an inferior product when there are countless others that are closer, better, bigger, sexier or whatever. Conneaut's location sucks. The attraction package isn't even in the neighborhood of interesting compared to the other parks. It's not more complicated than that.
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Friday, June 22, 2007 12:00 PM
Funny how you seem to be an expert regarding Conneaut's ride package. Weren't you just saying in another thread that it's wrong for someone to have an opinion regarding something they've never been to?

I don't believe Conneaut's ride package has anything to do with the park's recent failures. With a significant wood coaster, a darkride, a classic carousel, a great kiddyland and flat rides that on par with the flat rides at other nearby parks, Conneaut's problem is not what is has... or doesn't have. Much of the problem is due to the way the park was run in the past and the negative reputation it developed as a result of that. If the park was run by more knowledgable and informed people back in the 80's, it might be a thriving amusement park right now.

Why do you continue to insist that the park's location is the source of its problems? It's not like Conneaut only draws people from a five-mile radius, and it's not uncommon for people to flock to a terrible area to do something they enjoy. The New York Yankees draw 4+ million people to the Bronx every year, and I don't consider that to be on the positive side of mediocre.

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Friday, June 22, 2007 12:43 PM
No, it exactly illustrates my point. If they had a ride package worth seeing I would have already been there.

I'm not even going to respond to you comparing the Bronx to Conneaut. That's the single most ridiculous thing on this subject you've ever posted. Like comparing a flea to scope of the entire solar system.

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Friday, June 22, 2007 2:11 PM
So you're not going to comment on my comparison of the Bronx to Conneaut... except to tell me that it's a ridiculous comparison? That makes a lot of sense. I give you a lot of credit for the way you dodge valid points that people make when you suddenly run out of ways to defend your position. Just because you plead the fifth doesn't mean that you're right, it just means that instead of continuing to debate with someone that makes a good point that conflicts with what you believe, you pout and stomp your feet by opting out. I've never come across someone so fixed on having to be right all the time as much as you, Jeff.

Anyway, I don't see how my comparison of the Bronx to Conneaut is ridiculous, so if you chose not to elaborate on that, I'll just assume you're just talking out your rear end for the sake of either building up your own confidence or hearing yourself talk. Maybe I sound sarcastic with that comment, but I really don't know where you're coming from. Whatever you happen to be responding to, you're not making it very clear, nor do I believe that anything I said was reason to respond like you did.

Let me get this straight- because Jeff Putz doesn't feel Conneaut has a ride package that makes the trip worthwhile, that's the reason the park has been a failure in recent years? Perhaps you can remind me of the point when Jeff Putz suddenly spoke for the entire population of western Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio?

*** This post was edited by Rob Ascough 6/22/2007 2:18:16 PM ***

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Friday, June 22, 2007 5:30 PM
So me not wanting to explain how a professional baseball team can attract people from the country's largest metro, is silly to compare to a tiny amusement park that is surrounded by fewer people in all of Western PA, makes me stomping out because I want to be right? You're serious?

You were questioning my credibility in criticizing the park for its ride package. Nowhere did I say that my opinion was the word of God, as you imply. But seeing as how the park is not a thriving success, I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and conclude that I'm not the only one who feels that way.

Hang on to the dream, Rob, because before long that's all Conneaut is going to be.

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Friday, June 22, 2007 9:39 PM
Wow, what a dig. You really got me with that one.

If you wanted to make a point that the population of the Bronx and how it supports a major league baseball team is different from the population in western PA and how it supports a local amusement park, you could have stated your point instead of dismissing the opinion of someone other than you as idiotic or ridiculous or however you decided to cloak your insult. But getting back to the point, I don't see any difference whatsoever aside from varying scales. The Bronx is a lousy place to visit yet people are more than willing to travel there to see the Yankees. I don't see how the lousy Conneaut area works against the park because it's clear that people venture into less-than-desireable areas to do the things they really want to do. Besides, I doubt a lot of first-time visitors or would-be visitors are aware that the town of Conneaut isn't the nicest place, which further supports my claim that the area has very little do with anything.

You're absolutely right that I'm questioning the credibility of your criticisms of the park. I fail to understand how someone who has never visited the park and has no genuine interest in the park can claim to know the reasons why people don't go there. And last time I checked, the lack of traffic wasn't the park's only problem- there's also the nagging problem of them being unable to turn a profit with their income. If people are visiting the park, I'm thinking that people aren't exactly unhappy with what the park has to offer.

I'll hang onto my dream, thank you very much.

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Friday, June 22, 2007 11:38 PM
And why do you suppose they can't turn a profit?
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Sunday, June 24, 2007 12:01 AM
I'm surprised that someone that claims to be as business-minded as you is thinking of the problem in a one-dimensional way. It's not like all failing businesses are suffering from a lack of business.

Sure, Conneaut could be suffering from a lack of business- perhaps the 100K or 150K people that visit the park annually aren't bringing in enough money for the park to cover expenses. But one of the largest companies in the world- General Motors- is bringing in about a billion times what Conneaut is bringing in, and it can't turn a profit either. There are many other reasons why a business sits on the brink. Perhaps the park does have enough guests, but certain things are preventing the park from realizing a profit. Let's not forget that the park is constantly repaying loans, and the people running the place haven't proved themselves to be the financial experts that the park needs.

I maintain that Conneaut's location has very little to do with its troubles. Parks like Canobie Lake, Funtown//Splashtown, Wild Adventures, Indiana Beach, Knoebels and Holiday World all operate far outside major commercial markets- some even in areas that are definitely not populated by people that can be described as "well off"- but survive just fine. In my eyes, Conneaut's problems are internal and not external... or at least not limited to external.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007 10:18 AM

I'm surprised that someone that claims to be as business-minded as you is thinking of the problem in a one-dimensional way.
Why is it that when you don't have an argument you chalk it up to my alleged shortcomings? Furthermore, how is me asking you a question leading you to a "one-dimensional" view of the problem? I didn't bring up the size of the business. I don't care about General Motors. You said they had a "nagging problem" of not being able to turn a profit, and I asked you why.

So, I ask again, why can't the park turn a profit?

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Sunday, June 24, 2007 9:09 PM
How would I know why the park can't turn a profit? I've never claimed to know what's going on- or not going on- behind the scenes, all I can do is speculate. It's just that, unlike you, I opt to look at a wide variety of things that could be the source of the park's problems instead of just assuming it's because of the park's attendance figures, which may or may not be the culprit.

Again, it could be poor management. It could be that loan payments are keeping revenue from paying all the bills. It could be that someone is stealing money from the park. It could be that rides are making money and concessions aren't, or vice versa. Like I said, it could be one or any number of things.

When I don't have an argument, I blame it on your shortcomings? I don't even know how to explain the many reasons why that makes no sense at all. I do have an argument, but because it's something you can't wrap your mind around, you chose to call my statements ridiculous or complain that I'm insulting you. No wonder I get a headache every time I try having a reasonable debate with you.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007 10:49 PM
Glad to hear Anrold's is doing well. As for the competition, let me say that I live in Des Moines and I can get to Valleyfair and Worlds of Fun in less time than it takes to get to Arnold's There is no direct route to get there from central Iowa.. If it weren't for the resort style location, Arnold's would be doomed I think. And sadly, the area seems to becoming less resort-like every year.
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